Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Brio Countryside Horse Set

Brio Countryside Horse Set

Spring 2016 Toys
Ages: 3 & Up
Manufacturer: Ravensburger
Price: $64.99

The Brio Countryside Horse Set includes and engine and cargo car, 8 pieces of curved and 2 pieces of inclined track, 4 mountain pieces, a gate that swings to allow/prohibit crossing the track, a horse, a trainer/rider and a stable with a shower hose for the horse. What we especially like about the train is the ease with which even the smallest child could operate the battery-operated engine, quickly learning how to turn it on or off. Better still, the train can move with or without batteries (powered by little hands is always fun).

When playing together, children talked about trains and train stations, horseback riders, stalls, a jockey, horse trainers and horse races (we live in the Preakness host city). Lots of discussions followed about riding, responsibilities of caring for horses, grooming, saddles, food they eat, blankets; where they can ride a train; different types of trains; and so much more.

With so many ways to configure the track, we had lessons in problem solving. On some surfaces, the "mountains" used to elevate the tracks slipped. Although somewhat frustrating, it didn't stop the children from playing with the train set; they found two simple solutions: 1) Move to another surface, and/or 2) Don't elevate the tracks into a hill position. Oh those undaunted and innovative 4 year olds.

Kathy Smith   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Kathy Smith has been leading preschool classes through playful learning for more than 25 years. Her tales of "Who is messier, 'Miss Kathy' or the children?" is a comedy act in the making. Family friendly, of course.

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